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Best of Athens: Private Full-Day Tour including the Acropolis & Acropolis Museum

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Athens, Greece
11

From $275.11

Price varies by group size

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Free Cancellation
up to 24 hours in advance
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icon7 hours  (Approx.)
Pickup offered
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English
Good for avoiding crowds

Overview

Spend a full day exploring Athens. This tour allows you to visit highlights such as the Acropolis, the ancient Greek agora, Hadrian's Gate, and more. Stop in Plaka for free time and lunch. Round-trip private transportation included.
  • Comprehensive private tour of Athens
  • See all of Athens' highlights in a single day
  • Free time for shopping and lunch in Plaka
  • Round-trip private transportation from your hotel
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English-speaking driver with good knowledge of the history and culture of Greece
Transport by air-conditioned vehicle appropriate for the size of your group
Pickup from and drop-off to centrally-located Athens hotels
Pickup from and drop-off from the cruise port (for cruise ship passengers)
Entrance fees to the archaeological sites and museum
Gratuities
Food and drinks
Professional licensed tour guide. Can be arranged at an additional cost, subject to availability

Departure Point

Traveler pickup is offered
We arrange pick up and drop off from most of the centrally located Athens hotels

Ports

  • Athens (Piraeus) cruise ship port


Departure Time

Flexible departure time (between 7am and 1pm). 
Please indicate your preferred departure time you wish to be picked up at time of booking.
Choose a time for pickup at your Athens accommodations. First, drive by landmarks such as the Panathenaic Stadium, the Parliament House, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. On Panepistimiou Avenue, view the National Library, the Academy of Athens, Athens University, and the Catholic Cathedral of Athens. 

On the way to the Parthenon, pass Hadrian's Gate and the Temple of Zeus. Explore the Parthenon and all its interior structures, then visit the New Museum of the Acropolis and head for the old part of the city, Plaka, where you can go to lunch, explore on your own, and hit the souvenir shops. Also visit the ancient agora and the Roman agora, as well as the fish and meat market and the Monastiraki flea market. 

Conclude your tour with drop-off back at your hotel. 

Please note: your driver is unable to enter the sites and museum with you. All sites are self-guided and entrance fees are at your own expense.
Itinerary
Stop At:  
Acropolis
The greatest and finest sanctuary of ancient Athens, dedicated primarily to its patron, the goddess Athena, dominates the centre of the modern city from the rocky crag known as the Acropolis. The most celebrated myths of ancient Athens, its greatest religious festivals, earliest cults and several decisive events in the city's history are all connected to this sacred precinct. The monuments of the Acropolis stand in harmony with their natural setting. These unique masterpieces of ancient architecture combine different orders and styles of Classical art in a most innovative manner and have influenced art and culture for many centuries. The Acropolis of the fifth century BC is the most accurate reflection of the splendour, power and wealth of Athens at its greatest peak, the golden age of Perikles.
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Not Included
Stop At:  
Acropolis Museum
The monuments of the Acropolis have withstood the ravages of past centuries, both of ancient times and those of the Middle Ages. Until the 17th century, foreign travellers visiting the monuments depicted the classical buildings as being intact. This remained the case until the middle of the same century, when the Propylaia was blown up while being used as a gunpowder store. Thirty years later, the Ottoman occupiers dismantled the neighbouring Temple of Athena Nike to use its materials to strengthen the fortification of the Acropolis. The most fatal year, however, for the Acropolis, was 1687, when many of the building’s architectural members were blown into the air and fell in heaps around the Hill of the Acropolis, caused by a bomb from the Venetian forces. Foreign visitors to the Acropolis would search through the rubble and take fragments of the fallen sculptures as their souvenirs. It was in the 19th century that Lord Elgin removed intact architectural sculptures from the frieze, the metopes and the pediments of the building. In 1833, the Turkish garrison withdrew from the Acropolis. Immediately after the founding of the Greek State, discussions about the construction of an Acropolis Museum on the Hill of the Acropolis began. In 1863, it was decided that the Museum be constructed on a site to the southeast of the Parthenon and foundations were laid on 30 December 1865. The building program for the Museum had provided that its height not surpasses the height of the stylobate of the Parthenon. With only 800 square meters of floor space, the building was rapidly shown to be inadequate to accommodate the findings from the large excavations on the Acropolis that began in 1886. A second museum was announced in 1888, the so-called Little Museum. Final changes occurred in 1946-1947 with the second Museum being demolished and the original being sizably extended. By the 1970s, the Museum could not cope satisfactorily with the large numbers of visitors passing through its doors. The inadequacy of the space frequently caused problems and downgraded the sense that the exhibition of the masterpieces from the Rock sought to achieve. The Acropolis Museum was firstly conceived by Constantinos Karamanlis in September 1976. He also selected the site, upon which the Museum was finally built, decades later. With his penetrating vision, C. Karamanlis defined the need and established the means for a new Museum equipped with all technical facilities for the conservation of the invaluable Greek artifacts, where eventually the Parthenon sculptures will be reunited. For these reasons, architectural competitions were conducted in 1976 and 1979, but without success. In 1989, Melina Mercouri, who as Minister of Culture inextricably identified her policies with the claim for the return of the Parthenon Marbles from the British Museum, initiated an international architectural competition. The results of this competition were annulled following the discovery of a large urban settlement on the Makriyianni site dating from Archaic to Early Christian Athens. This discovery now needed to be integrated into the New Museum that was to be built on this site. In the year 2000, the Organization for the Construction of the New Acropolis Museum announced an invitation to a new tender, which was realized in accord with the Directives of the European Union. It is this Tender that has come to fruition with the awarding of the design tender to Bernard Tschumi with Michael Photiadis and their associates and the completion of construction in 2007. Today, the new Acropolis Museum has a total area of 25,000 square meters, with exhibition space of over 14,000 square meters, ten times more than that of the old museum on the Hill of the Acropolis. The new Museum offers all the amenities expected in an international museum of the 21st century.
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Not Included
Pass By:  
Temple of Olympian Zeus
Located in southern Athens, between the Acropolis and the Ilissos river, the Olympeion was the sanctuary of Olympian Zeus. Here stands one of the greatest ancient temples of Zeus and, according to Vitruvius, one of the most famous marble buildings ever constructed. The sanctuary's foundation is attributed to mythical Deukalion. The site also comprises the temple of Apollo Delphinios - the sanctuary of Apollo Delphinios was traditionally associated with Theseus - and a tripartite building with a south courtyard of ca. 500 BC. The latter has been identified as the Delphinion Court, which was allegedly founded by Aegeas.
Stop At:  
Panathenaic Stadium
The Panathenaic Stadium is located on the site of an ancient stadium and for many centuries hosted games in which nude male athletes competed (gymnikoi agones) in track events, athletics championships as we would call them today. The games, which since antiquity had been held in an area far from the city, were included in the programme of the Panathenaia festival celebrations in 566/565 BC. When the orator Lykourgos assumed responsibility for the finances of Athens, in 338 BC, he included in the public works carried out in the city the building of a Stadium. The ravine running between Ardettos Hill and the low height opposite, extra muros of the city and in an idyllic setting on the verdant banks of the River Ilissos, was deemed to be an ideal location. This was private land but its owner, Deinias, conceded it to the State for the construction of a Stadium. Major earth-removal works transformed the ravine into a space for contests, with the features of the Greek stadium: parallelogram shape with entrance at one narrow end and room for the spectators on the earth slopes of the other three sides. Lykourgos’ stadium was used for the first time during the celebration of the Great Panathenaia in 330/29 BC, when games in which nude athletes competed were held.
Duration: 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Pass By:  
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, located in front of the Parliament building
Pass By:  
Hellenic Parliament
Hellenic Parliament is intimately linked to the history of the Modern Greek state. Initially, the building served as the palace of Kings Otto and George I. It became the Parliament and Senate building a hundred years after it was constructed, and still houses the Hellenic Parliament today. Through all those years, the building has undergone a series of changes and has been modernized.
Stop At:  
Plaka
It is the oldest district in Athens (it is also mentioned as "Gods' district") with outstanding scenery. The moment you start walking on its paved narrow lanes you get the feeling that you travel back in time. Nobody knows where the area took its name from. According to the most prevalent opinion, Plaka took its name from a large stone slab that was found in the area near to Aghios Georgios Alexandreias church, next to Dionysus ancient theater. You will be mesmerized by the beauty of the houses with neoclassic colors, the architecture, the well preserved gardens, the elegance and the atmosphere of the whole area. Even Plaka's air is different: Softer, clearer and full of scents, like a gift from gods. If you decide to walk around the area, make sure you have a map, because Plaka is like a labyrinth and you will probably get lost in its lanes.
Duration: 1 hour 
Admission Ticket Free
Pass By:  
Arch of Hadrian (Pili tou Adrianou)
Hadrian's gate is a monumental gateway of Corinthian order and in architectural form a combination of the Roman type of triumphal arch with the Greek propylon. The arch was erected in 131-132 AD by the Athenians as a tribute to the Roman emperor Hadrian. Built over an ancient road, the arch marked the division between the old city and the new regions in Roman Athens, the building itself bearing testimony to that. There are two inscriptions on the arch, facing in opposite directions: The inscription on the NW side, facing towards Acropolis, was this is Athens, the ancient city of Theseus, while the inscription on the SW side towards Olympieio read this is the city of Hadrian, and not of Theseus. During the Byzantine era, the triumphal arch of Hadrian was renamed Gate of the princess in honor of an empress, possibly Eudokia who came from Athens. In the 18th century, the Ottoman defensive wall incorporated Hadrian's arch, which thus became the second gate of the city walls.
Pass By:  
The Academy of Athens
The Academy of Athens was founded with the Constitutional Decree of March 18th 1926, as an Academy of Sciences, Humanities and Fine Arts. The same Decree appointed its first Members, who were all eminent representatives of the scientific, intellectual and artistic circles of that era.
Pass By:  
National Library of Greece
The National Library of Greece (Greek: Εθνική Βιβλιοθήκη) is situated near the center of city of Athens. It was designed by the Danish architect Theophil Freiherr von Hansen, as part of his famous Trilogy of neo-classical buildings including the Academy of Athens and the original building of the Athens University. It was founded by Ioannis Kapodistrias.
Stop At:  
Monastiraki
One of the most typical areas in “old” Athens full of narrow lanes and small buildings, representing the Ottoman and Byzantine influence on the city. In the open-air stands and in the small shops, located on central streets (Andrianou, Ifaestou, Theseiou, Aghios Fillipos, Astiggos and Ermou), you can buy everything: shoes, clothes, old and new furniture, old books and magazines, souvenirs, jewelry, hats, bronze items, new and second hand records and cd’s, traditional Greek music instruments (bouzouki, cymbal etc). Shopping or just walking around Monastiraki is an amazing experience you do not want to miss. You will be amazed by the quality and quantity of products and you will definitely be tempted to buy something.
Duration: 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking, unless booked within 2 days of travel. In this case confirmation will be received within 48 hours, subject to availability
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • At time of booking, cruise ship passengers must provide the following information at time of booking: ship name, docking time, disembarkation time, and re-boarding time
  • A minimum of 2 people per booking is required
  • Infant seats available
  • Not recommended for pregnant travelers
  • No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
  • Travelers should have a moderate physical fitness level
  • Please note that our English-speaking tour driver has good knowledge of history and culture of Greece and will guide you till you enter sites. Please note that tour drivers cannot escort you inside the archaeological sites and museums
  • This is a private tour/activity. Only your group will participate
  • OPERATED BY Kivotos of Aegean travel

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience. Learn more about cancellations.


Traveler Photos

Traveler Tips


  • "The car and driver provided a comfortable and convenient way to get around Athens and reach key landmarks like the Acropolis , Temple of Zeus, etc." See review

Reviews

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Reviews by Viator travelers

Showing 1 of 4 reviews
star-3
Expensive tour was somewhat dissapointing
808kathy
, Sep 2019
This tour was very expensive, compared to others that were similar, but sold out but we wanted an overview of the highlights of Athens so we signed up for it. The car and driver provided a comfortable and convenient way to get around Athens and reach key landmarks like the Acropolis , Temple of Zeus, etc. Our guide was very pleasant and gave us a little commentary on what we were passing in the car but didn’t go with us to see any of the landmarks and didn’t even seem terribly knowledgeable about them so she didn’t add a lot to our day. They did take us to a nice local restaurant for lunch, which we really enjoyed. However, overall, the “tour” was little more than transportation around the city, where we were usually just dropped off, with the comment that, “we will meet you back here in 3 hours” or “we will meet you back here in an hour”. It appeared from the paper work that the guide only received a fraction of the $179 per person we paid for this tour (for 4), so someone else is making a lot of money for a pretty average, uninspiring tour. We would not recommend this tour company to others.
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Product code: 16227P10

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